Scotrail could do better on Borders Railway, says MSP

Tweedbank train station, the end of the line for the Borders Railway line
Tweedbank train station, the end of the line for the Borders Railway line

Latest statistics from Scotrail are encouraging for Borders Rail, although with the train provider still not putting on extra carriages for major event, there is room for improvement.

Scotrail reports that trains arriving at Tweedbank between the period October 15 and November 11 narrowly missed the national performance target.

According to the Public Performance Measure, the percentage of booked services which arrive within five minutes of their booked arrival time, having called at all booked stations on the route, was at 89.2%. The Moving Annual Average Public Performance Measure was 91.4%.

However, during that time period, only 51.9% of trains rolled into Tweedbank on time.

And anecdotal accounts have reported overcrowded trains on the weekends that coincide with Scotland international Rugby Union matches. Passengers took to social media at the weekend, when Scotland hosted the All Blacks at Murrayfield, saying the trains were “absolutely packed”.

Last December, Rachael Hamilton MSP raised the issue of over overcrowding on trains when major sporting events take place with the Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf MSP.

The Minister assured Mrs Hamilton the Scottish Government was doing its best to increase capacity, saying: “The member can be assured that we are doing what we can to increase capacity.

“We will always look for opportunities to increase capacity and add more rolling stock. I am more than happy for the ScotRail team that does the planning and co-ordination for major events to give the member a briefing if she would find that helpful.”

Mrs Hamilton, now MSP for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire, said: “The latest statistics are encouraging from Borders Rail, although it did narrowly miss the performance target. So there is definitely room for improvement.

“However, anecdotal accounts from constituents highlight that Borders Rail did not put extra carriages on for the Scotland vs Samoa rugby match, which resulted in overcrowding and unhappy passengers.

“I have again written to the Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf MSP, asking for assurances that capacity will be increased when such events take place.”